New Academy Award Guidelines Require Films Meet Diversity Standards In Order To Win Best Picture
The entertainment industry tends to be a big part of everyone’s lives. Most of us enjoy watching films, binging television series, and following our favorite celebrities to live in their shadow via social media. In the most recent years, Hollywood Elitists have been taking a hit for not being as diverse as the words they preach on social media – did you see the most recent backlash that stemmed from a series of tweets from actor Daniel Newman? But, changes have been made – after a forced nudge. After eliminating many reckless men in the #MeToo era, Hollywood was determined to treat women better. Their solution was getting more females behind the camera to have more authentic voices. However, they failed to recognize that persons of color have been severely unrepresented after a social justice trend, #OscarsSoWhite, took over the internet. So, the heads of Hollywood basically said they were determined to represent more persons of color (POC) behind the scenes and in front of the camera in the same breath as women: A tale as old as time. Recent social justice protests have ignited these conversations, including the lack of LGBTQ films and representation – the list goes on. Now, they’ve found an answer to make us all feel…well, you decide.
According to Deadline, The Academy Awards AKA The Oscars will now have eligibility requirements in order to win perhaps the most coveted prize, Best Picture. Films will now be judged and must meet two requirements of the following to be nominated for Best Picture: The leading actor or significant supporting actors must be a POC, thirty-percent of the ensemble cast must be disabled, women, POC, or LGBTQ, the main storyline or subject matter must be centered on the aforementioned groups, a minimal of two persons behind the scenes, senior executives, or leaders must meet their diverse quota, six crew members must identify as the above criteria, thirty-percent of the film crew must be inclusive, paid internships for diverse future scholars, and diversity in administrative offices. It’s a lot to pack in, but basically if you aren’t hiring diverse talent you won’t be heading home with the trophy.
In a sense, this is great! Diversity behind the camera in all sectors of entertainment should’ve happened you know, from the beginning. A lot of people are going to get great opportunities and plenty of people are happy as a clam right now because finally there is a light at the end of an endless tunnel. However, on the flip side: This has a lot of flaws – as expected from any of the out of touch Hollywood Elite. Some people aren’t stereotyped into their ethnicity by skin color. Many LGBTQ persons are closeted, some not wanting to come out professionally, or may appear heterosexual on “paper”. This is almost getting into a weird territory where you’ll have to announce your personal life in a job interview, right? Again, this is great if your appearance mirrors your flamboyancy or ethnicity, but what if you have to openly tell someone you’re gay, mixed-race, or even suffer from a disability?
On the flip side, what if a wonderful film gets passed up from being a part of a rag tag group of independent film makers? Movies like Juno (despite Ellen Page eventually coming out a decade+ later) wouldn’t have gotten the praise with these guidelines. But, say a gay-themed film like Eating Out would be nominated simply to fill a diversity quota? These new rules are tricky and we could end up rewarding hardwork for the sake of having wealthy Hollywood Executives pat themselves on the back thinking that they finally did something right.
Do you think the new eligibility factors for Best Picture will help or hinder the cause at hand?
Writer’s Note: This is the opinion of one Instinct Magazine contributor and does not reflect the views of Instinct Magazine itself or fellow contributors.